Lamb Biryani

Recipe Courtesy of Psychologies Magazine November 2015

Lamb BiryaniThe deep, complex flavours of this vibrant, colourful curry make for a satisfying autumn supper.  Neck of lamb is ideal for this dish; it is one of the cheaper and more flavourful cuts of meat and the lengthy cooking tenderises it, so the end result will be meltingly soft.

Serves : 4  – Preparation Time : 10 mins  –  Cooking Time : 1 hour 30 mins

Ingredients: 2 tblsp grapeseed or rice bran oil; 750g lamb neck, cut into 2cm pieces; 40g ghee or butter; 2 small red onions, halved, thinly sliced; 3 tblsp finely grated ginger; 6 garlic gloves, finely chopped; 2 cinnamon sticks; 1 ½

tsp ground turmeric; 2 tsp garam masala; 1 tsp ground chilli; 2 tsp green cardamom pods, cracked; 2 tomatoes, halved, coarsely grated, skins discarded; 50g raisins; 130g Greek-style yogurt; 400g basmati rice; ½ tsp saffron threads, soaked in 2 tsp hot water; roasted cashews, mint leaves and coriander sprigs, to serve

Step One: Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat.  Season the lamb with salt and sear for 5 minutes to brown.  Remove and set aside.

Step Two: Add the ghee to the pan, together with the onions, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, garam masala, chilli and 1 tsp of the cardamom pods.  Cook for 5 minutes until fragrant, stirring, so the spices don’t burn.

Step Three: Stir in the tomatoes, raisins and yogurt, then return he lamb to the pan and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 1 ¼ hours, until the lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.

Step Four: When the lamb is almost ready, cook the rice in salted boiling water with the remaining cardamom pods until tender.  Drain.  Put half the rice into a bowl and stir through the saffron and it’s soaking liquid.  Keep warm.

Step Five: Spoon half the plain rice onto a platter, then half the saffron rice.  Spoon the lamb over the top, followed by the remaining plain rice and then the remaining saffron rice.  Serve with roasted cashews, mint leaves and coriander sprigs.

Saffron from Amazon:

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Cheat’s Chicken Biryani

A mildly spiced dish that cunningly combines two ready-cooked convenience foods to create a delicious meal.  It will look as through it’s taken ages to prepare – hide the packets and nobody will ever know!

Serves:  2;  Prep:  3 mins;  Cook: 8 mins;  Cals per portion:  400

Ingredients:  45ml / 3 tbsp sunflower oil; 2 onions, sliced;  1 clove of garlic, crushed; 225g (8oz) chunks of cooked chicken tikka, sliced into strips; juice of half a lemon; 25g (1oz) flaked almonds; 400g (14oz) packet ready-cooked Indian-style pilau rice (see tip below); 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh chopped mint; 30ml (2 tbsp) fresh chopped coriander; 25g (1oz) sultanas

  • Heat the oil, add the onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Stir in the chicken tikka strips and then squeeze over the lemon juice.  Cook for a further 3 minutes.
  • Add the almonds, rice, mint, coriander and sultanas.  Cook, stirring from time to time until just warmed through.  Serve with warm naan bread.